HL Deb 01 February 2005 vol 669 cc7-8WS
The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker)

My right honourable friend the Minister for Housing and Planning has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is today publishing the Government's new planning policy statement 1 (PPS1), Delivering Sustainable Development. Copies of the document will be made available in the Libraries of the House. This new statement which applies in England, replaces planning policy guidance note 1 (PPG1), General Policy and Principles, published in February 1997.

PPS1 is one of the new series of shorter, sharper planning policy statements that are an important component of the Government's package of reforms for the planning system. PPS1 itself sets the context for the planning system and for other topic-specific policy statements. The policies set out in PPS1 will need to be taken into account by regional planning bodies in the preparation of regional spatial strategies, by the Mayor of London in relation to the spatial development strategy in London, and by local planning authorities in the preparation of local development documents. They may also be material to decisions on individual planning applications.

The consultation draft of PPS1, entitled Creating Sustainable Communities, was published in February 2004. Over 300 responses to the consultation draft were received. The Government have carefully considered the views expressed in preparing the final version of the document.

With its new title of Delivering Sustainable Development, PPS1 reflects the duty on regional and local planning bodies to contribute towards sustainable development when preparing development plans, as required by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The policies seek to ensure balance in the integrated consideration of environmental issues alongside the need for sustainable economic development and the aim of creating genuinely sustainable communities.

There is also stronger emphasis on good design, reflecting the importance that the Government attach to ensuring high quality design is delivered through the planning system. PPS1 makes it clear that good design is indivisible from good planning in delivering safe, inclusive and successful communities. Spatial planning and the importance of ensuring community involvement in the planning system are other important issues covered by PPS1, within the context of the overall theme of the document.

The original PPG1 also contained a broad range of material covering the general operation of the planning system. This was reproduced in a slightly updated form as Annexe B in the consultation draft of PPS1. Given the new emphasis of PPS1 on sustainable development, we do not consider this material suitable for inclusion in the PPS. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is, however, publishing this material in the interim as a separate document entitled, The Planning System: General Principles, alongside PPS1. We are also considering the scope and content of future "good practice" guidance to support PPS1.

PPS1 demonstrates the Government's commitment to achieving more sustainable development through the reformed planning system. It provides an important, over-arching policy framework which should help improve people's lives and the places where they live, work and enjoy, whilst protecting our environment and natural resources—now and in the future. The Government believe this document should be broadly welcomed by planning authorities, developers and other business, community and environmental interests.